Musings About My Playlist While Trying to Run a 10k

There are some things that I’m very good at: algebraic techniques in probability theory, baseball trivia, criticizing New York Philharmonic’s brasswinds, among several other more useful skills.  Then there are things that I’m extremely bad at, or not even good enough to be bad at: sprints, marathons, and running any kind of distance in between.

Last Saturday I ran a 10k race on Roosevelt Island.  Well, “ran” is kind of a strong verb.  More like “jogged with walking breaks”, or even “walked with jogging breaks”.  Below are some thoughts about my playlist that popped into my head (in various levels of oxygen-deprived state) during the race.

Mile 0.7–How much have I already run?  I was listening to the 2nd movement of Dvorak’s Piano Quintet at the start line, and it’s now like the 4th movement.  How have I not seen the Mile 1 marker yet? 

Mile 1.3–Oh wait, *now* it is the 4th movement.  With all the real runners rushing past me I had misheard the notes.

Mile 2.1–It’s nice, now that the real runners are gone.  It’s like the quietest New York City has ever been.  Really looking forward to the next Dvorak piece coming up–don’t think I’ve ever listened to it without street noise.

Mile 2.2–Damn it, my phone skipped right over that piece and is now playing Liszt.  Why is Hungarian Rhapsody still even on my playlist?  It’s been at least 10 years since I claimed to like it.  Must be because I just wouldn’t give up on the fantasy of learning it one measure at a time someday. 

Mile 3.1–Hey, I just finished half of the race and smashed my 5k time from last year.  I can totally do this!  Next I should go for a marathon!  While we are at it, I can totally learn Hungarian Rhapsody one measure at a time!

Mile 3.2–On second thought, no to both (marathon and Hungarian Rhapsody).

Mile 3.3–Sibelius’s Violin Concerto has just started.  This is good.  If I time the rest of the race right, I’ll be running the final mile to the brash finale.

Mile 5–Oh no, the second movement is almost over and I haven’t reached the last mile marker yet.  Must sprint now.

Mile 5.21–Yes!!!!  Reached the last mile marker just in time for the start of the third movement!!  ….And…completely…out…of…breath.

Mile 5.22–Seriously, I think I’m seeing stars.  This music is totally not helping. 

Mile 5.3–OK, feeling a bit better.  Goodness I’m like running all alone right now.  Just me and Sibelius in the East River.  Sibelius sounds so odd when everything else is so serene.

Mile 5.4–Wait, no, not alone.  A really old man just passed me. 

Mile 5.42–He looks like he could barely stand, and even for someone who looks like he could barely stand, he looks like he’s running in slow motion.  AND YET I CANNOT CATCH HIM.  It’s almost surreal, watching him running in slow motion to this rebellious music.

Mile 5.8–The old man is now so far ahead of me that I can’t even see him.  On the other hand I feel like I’m ready to declare independence from Russia.

Mile 5.96–Do I have enough in me to finish the last 400m before the piece ends?  ….No. 

Mile 6.03–So I will finish to Chopin.  I swear to God, I love Chopin, but this music is just too mellow for the occasion. 

Mile 6.21–CROSSED THE FINISH LINE!!  Smashed my target time by 6 minutes!!!  I should celebrate with some Wagner!!

Mile 6.23–Or, better to just stick with Chopin.  What a beautiful day.